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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Students seek academic support at Academic Success Center

 
 

Since the spring semester, the Academic Success Center has started helping Texas A&M students improve their academic performance and is now prepared to support even more students in the coming months.
James Kracht, assistant provost for undergraduate studies and executive director of the center, said the center was designed to help undergraduate students achieve their highest academic potential and graduate from A&M in a reasonable amount of time, without incurring a huge debt.
“The more we can do to help students gain academic tools and help them be successful, the faster they can get to graduation and the debt problem would be less,” Kracht said.
The Academic Success Center is a collaboration of work by staff members previously from the student counseling center, peer academic services center and all other various academic-related programs that already existed on campus.
One of the newly introduced features of the center is that students can schedule appointments with scholastic performance specialists or coaches. There are six coaches who see students individually. They offer help in a variety of areas including time-management, note-taking and other learning and study skills.
“There are plenty of success stories of students that we encountered,” said Joel Guy, a coach at the Academic Success Center. “It is just getting the student to understand there is another way to learn information, to process it, to study and to try it. They will find it will work and they will be successful.”
Lyle Slack, co-director of the Academic Success Center, said students can choose from a variety of programs that work best for them.
“There is not a set program that a certain student has to do,” Slack said. “We try to target it to what’s going to help the student most.”
The center is also working closely with other resources on campus. Students can get direct help for the Academic Success Center and also be referred to other programs such as the Student Counseling Center, Student Financial Aid Services and the Student Disability Services in cases that the coaches identify their academic problems are related to other issues.
“Really, any resource on campus the students might need, we want our coaches to know enough about it so that they could refer students,” said Joel McGee, co-director of the center.
Although the Academic Success Center has only been in operation for one semester, it has been successful in achieving its goal, proven by statistics generated by the database managed by McGee.
“The students who came to us, who completed the success plan, which means coming and working with us several sessions across the semester, managed to increase their GPR significantly,” Kracht said.
According to McGee’s data, there are 1,157 total students who participated in at least one program offered by the center during the spring semester. Students who have visited the center have seen an increase in their GPR. In particular, the average GPR increase for students who completed the success plan is 30 percent
When asked about future direction, Kracht said the center’s main task is to expand services to students around the campus while maintaining a fairly small staff.
To reach this goal, directors and coaches plan to use more technology, for example, placing more online materials through eCampus. They will also add more workshop sessions and explore new ways of counseling, such as group counseling in order to increase capacity, Slack said.
“I think we are an organization that adapts to change,” Slack said. “We are willing to look at things differently if we see the need, or a better way that we can facilitate services for students. I think this organization is geared at how we best serve the students. We are open to a lot of changes.”
Right now, employees at the Academic Success Center are working on getting new students connected to the center. Kracht said the center has two employees at every New Student Conference.
“Going from high school to college is really a big transition,” McGee said. “That’s where we can come in and help [new students] figure out ways to study, ways to approach class, ways to read the textbook, that make their learning more effective.”

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